Etv 'disappointed' with digital TV decision

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Etv has long argued that set-top boxes should have the capability to support encryption.
Etv has long argued that set-top boxes should have the capability to support encryption.

Etv is disappointed with a recent High Court judgement that dismissed its application to review aspects of government's digital terrestrial TV (DTT) policy, but says it "remains committed" to the process.

Yesterday, etv's legal application, seeking communications minister Faith Muthambi's latest iteration of the Broadcasting Digital Migration policy be amended to protect free-to-air broadcasters, was dismissed with costs.

The free-to-air broadcaster took the minister to court over set-top box controls last month, in legal action reminiscent of its 2012 court victory. The latest matter was heard on 26 and 27 May by the North Gauteng High Court.

In a statement today etv's chief operating officer, Mark Rosin, expressed the broadcaster's disappointment with the outcome, saying it was considering its options. He said, however, etv remained "committed to the roll-out of DTT and other digital platforms such as free satellite platform, OpenView HD".

Rosin says etv's channel offering for DTT has been ready for some time. "We look forward to the opportunity to offer South Africans a variety of great channels on DTT comprising many hours of local dramas, movies, music, kids programming and educational shows."

Etv has long argued that government-subsidised DTT set-top boxes should have the capability to support encryption. "This would prevent pirate STBs from receiving the broadcast signal," argues the broadcaster.

Etv says encryption would ensure a uniform and reliable viewer experience, the ability to broadcast premium and HD content, and would mean a boost for the local manufacturing industry.

Yesterday's High Court judgement effectively clears the way for SA to proceed with digital migration, some two weeks after the country missed the International Telecommunication Union's 17 June deadline for migration.

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